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Series: Combinatorics Seminar

A rectangulation is a tiling of a rectangle by rectangles. The rectangulation is called generic if no four of its rectangles share a corner. We will consider the problem of counting generic rectangulations (with n rectangles) up to combinatorial equivalence. This talk will present and explain an initial step in the enumeration: the fact that generic rectangulations are in bijection with permutations that avoid a certain set of patterns. I'll give background information on rectangulations and pattern avoidance. Then I'll make the connection between generic rectangulations and pattern avoiding permutations, which draws on earlier work with Shirley Law on "diagonal" rectangulations. I'll also comment on two theories that led to this result and its proof: the lattice theory of the weak order on permutations and the theory of combinatorial Hopf algebras.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

A set~$A$ of integers is a \textit{Sidon set} if all thesums~$a_1+a_2$, with~$a_1\leq a_2$ and~$a_1$,~$a_2\in A$, aredistinct. In the 1940s, Chowla, Erd\H{o}s and Tur\'an determinedasymptotically the maximum possible size of a Sidon set contained in$[n]=\{0,1,\dots,n-1\}$. We study Sidon sets contained in sparserandom sets of integers, replacing the `dense environment'~$[n]$ by asparse, random subset~$R$ of~$[n]$.Let~$R=[n]_m$ be a uniformly chosen, random $m$-element subsetof~$[n]$. Let~$F([n]_m)=\max\{|S|\colon S\subset[n]_m\hbox{ Sidon}\}$. An abridged version of our results states as follows.Fix a constant~$0\leq a\leq1$ and suppose~$m=m(n)=(1+o(1))n^a$. Thenthere is a constant $b=b(a)$ for which~$F([n]_m)=n^{b+o(1)}$ almostsurely. The function~$b=b(a)$ is a continuous, piecewise linearfunction of~$a$, not differentiable at two points:~$a=1/3$and~$a=2/3$; between those two points, the function~$b=b(a)$ isconstant.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

The Ising problem on finite graphs is usually treated by a reduction to the dimer problem. Is this a wise thing to do? I will show two (if time allows) recent results indicating that the Ising problem allows better mathematical analysis than the dimer problem. Joint partly with Gregor Masbaum and partly with Petr Somberg.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

The Chv\'atal--Erd\H{o}s Theorem states that every graph whose connectivityis at least its independence number has a spanning cycle. In 1976, Fouquet andJolivet conjectured an extension: If $G$ is an $n$-vertex $k$-connectedgraph with independence number $a$, and $a \ge k$, then $G$ has a cycle of lengthat least $\frac{k(n+a-k)}{a}$. We prove this conjecture. This is joint work with Suil O and Douglas B. West.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

Fix a subset A of the group of integers mod N. In this talkI will discuss joint work with Izabella Laba, Olof Sisask and myselfon the length of the longest arithmetic progression in the sumset A+Ain terms of the density of the set A. The bounds we develop improve uponthe best that was previously known, due to Ben Green.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

We consider the question of coloring the first n integers with two
colors in such a way as to avoid copies of a given arithmetic configuration (such
as 3 term arithmetic progressions, or solutions to x+y=z+w). We know from
results of Van der Waerden and others that avoiding such configurations
completely is a hopeless task if n is sufficiently large, so instead we look at
the question of finding colorings with comparatively few monochromatic copies of
the configuration. At the very least, can we do significantly better than just
closing our eyes and coloring randomly?
I will discuss some partial answers, experimental results, and conjectured
answers to these questions for certain configurations based on joint work with
Steven Butler and Ron Graham.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

The graph minor structure theorem of Robertson and Seymour gives anapproximate characterization of which graphs do not contain some fixedgraph H as a minor. The theorem has found numerous applications,including Robertson and Seymour's proof of the polynomial timealgorithm for the disjoint paths problem as well as the proof ofWagner's conjecture that graphs are well quasi-ordered under the minorrelation. Unfortunately, the proof of the structure theorem isextremely long and technical. We will discuss a new proof whichgreatly simplifies the argument and makes the result more widelyaccessible. This is joint work with Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

We extend the theory of infinite matroids recently developed by Bruhn et al to a well-known classical result in finite matroids while using the theory of connectivity for infinitematroids of Bruhn and Wollan. We prove that every infinite connected matroid M determines a graph-theoretic decomposition tree whose vertices correspond to minors of M that are3-connected, circuits, or cocircuits, and whose edges correspond to 2-separations of M. Tutte and many other authors proved such a decomposition for finite graphs; Cunningham andEdmonds proved this for finite matroids and showed that this decomposition is unique if circuits and cocircuits are also allowed. We do the same for infinite matroids. The knownproofs of these results, which use rank and induction arguments, do not extend to infinite matroids. Our proof avoids such arguments, thus giving a more first principles proof ofthe finite result. Furthermore, we overcome a number of complications arising from the infinite nature of the problem, ranging from the very existence of 2-sums to proving the treeis actually graph-theoretic.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

Judicious partitioning problems on graphs and hypergraphs ask for partitions that optimize several quantities simultaneously. In this talk we first review the history of such problems. We will then focus on a conjecture of Bollobas and Thomason that the vertices of any r-uniform hypergraphs with m edges can be partitioned into r sets so that each set meets at least rm/(2r-1) edges. We will show that for r=3 and m large we can get an even better bound than what the conjecture suggests.

Series: Combinatorics Seminar

The matching sequence of a graph is the sequence whose $k$th term counts the number of matchings of size $k$. The independent set (or stable set) sequence does the same for independent sets. Except in very special cases, the terms of these sequences cannot be calculated explicitly, and one must be content to ask questions about global behavior. Examples of such questions include: is the sequence unimodal? is it log-concave? where are the roots of its generating function? For the matching sequence, these questions are answered fairly completely by a theorem of Heilmann and Lieb. For the independent set sequence, the situation is less clear. There are some positive results, one startling negative result, and a number of basic open questions. In this talk I will review the known results, and describe some recent progress on the questions.